Mice, men and plans.

Mice, men and plans.

“Maybe we can leave early?”

I have work, so it can’t be really early. But, as in less than two weeks, I shall be staying at work a little later (rather than go home before picking up Best Mate), I could leave half an hour earlier.

So, in order to be at home as quickly as possible today (Friday), last night, I went to buy cigarettes rather than, as I usually do, on Friday. And I bought that long-life milk to take down with me. That would mean that the only thing I would have to do on Friday night, on my way home, was fill up with petrol.

But, the best laid plans ….. etc., etc.

Of course, it was first mentioned, a few days ago.

“They can’t deliver the new furniture until Saturday.”

This is for the shop. Since he’s responsible for the layout, it’s important that he’s there. It was due to come this week, during the week but for some reason, can’t be done until Saturday. I ask if he has to stay and he says “no” but I’m not convinced. His boss has also told him he doesn’t have to be there. But I know he’ll feel responsible.

So last night, I met him and some of his colleagues for a drink. He tells me two things. 1. His brother (and girlfriend) will be staying at the house from next week (his girlfriend’s house got flooded and is being “worked on”) and, 2. he has to stay in Milan for Saturday.

Whereas I’m not really surprised, I’m disappointed (and very disappointed for him) on two fronts. First that his brother will “mess up” the tidy, super-clean house that he spent about a week doing, ready for our holiday and secondly that he can’t come down this weekend.

He’s quite angry and frustrated. With his brother and with the furniture thing.

I shall still go down tonight but it’s not really so important to leave early. My heart’s not in it. Without him it’s really not the same. But I’m going down because it will be so hot over the weekend and going down is so much better for the dogs, poor things. But, I think this year, we’ve actually travelled together only once. And, even if he annoys the hell out of me (switching off the air conditioning from time to time and not wanting me to smoke when I want and lots of “be careful”s or sharp intake of breaths because he thinks I’m not driving slow enough, etc.) I much prefer that he’s with me. In fact, I much prefer that he’s with me most of the time and this year he hasn’t been.

And, then, maybe, the weekend after, his brother will still be there so probably we won’t go down, which is a shame, mostly for him.

But let’s see. He wants to buy out his brother from the house. If his brother won’t give up his half, he says he will push to sell the house and then buy one of his own.

He’s angry and frustrated, I’m just disappointed. My plans were for nothing.

Sayings and meanings

He suddenly got, on Saturday, the dreaded bollicine (small water blisters) all over his back.

Before Saturday he had been OK. Looking for the reasons they could have come, I remembered that he had changed sun tan lotion that morning. I suggest it but he isn’t sure.

So, Sunday was me going to the beach whilst he was going to stay with the dogs in the house. He’s been told by the chemist, whilst getting some lotion and some pills, to stay out of the sun for 5 days – the rest of his holiday, more or less.

He started cleaning the house, starting with the kitchen. This means getting everything out of the cupboards, washing everything, cleaning the cupboards and putting everything back.

He was about half way through when I came back from the beach shortly before 4.

We were talking. I was sorry for him that he wouldn’t be able to go to the beach. He said that, anyway, it wasn’t as good without me.

That’s about as far as it gets towards “I love you.” But, for sure, that’s what it means. :-)

Hang on in there!

Hang on in there!

I am exhausted, to be honest. The holiday, in a little more than 4 weeks, can’t come soon enough. It seems I never stop.

Take last night. I rush home from work, park the car, walk to the supermarket, momentarily forgetting that it’s about 34°C and therefore walking down the street with full sun on my back rather than a slightly longer way, mostly in the shade. I buy the minimum of stuff and walk back home down the shady streets.

Arriving home, as soon as I step through the door, having stopped “doing something”, I do my Niagara Falls impression. I put away the milk and stuff, change out of my suit (I had customers at work), put on shorts and a T-shirt. Within a second my T-shirt is soaked but there’s not really much I can do. I need to take the dogs out as I need to be back by 7.

I take them out. We do a slightly shorter walk in the heat. It’s too hot for them. I get home and Niagara starts again. Half an hour later, I change my T-shirt as the Falls have stopped (thank God) but the T-shirt is completely soaked. I could manage it better if I didn’t have to rush – but I have no choice but to rush.

After my appointment, I get to read the document that someone has sent me to look at. It seems serious. I text to say that we need to talk. She asks if now is possible and I agree (I shall be busy tomorrow and I want to pack for the weekend) so we meet at Bar Blanco, the nearest bar to my house. I tell her how bad it could be but that I’ve managed to find someone who may be able to help. It’s going to cost her anyway. She is grateful, for sure, but we end up having a drink which means I’m late taking the dogs out and so late to bed.

With less that 5 hours sleep, I feel like shit. But, I feel I have to help her and cannot just walk away.

But, it costs. The cost being my tiredness.

I don’t really need the appointment tonight but it has to be. Then pack. Then the dogs. Then bed – early, I really hope. I don’t want to drive all the way down there and then spend the whole of the weekend asleep! Not that I CAN sleep on the beach, but “sleepy mode”, if I’m tired, can mean a subdued and exhausting weekend.

But, F is being “made” to take 2 weeks holiday. That’s fair enough, since for over a month he has been home for about 4 days in total. He, too, is exhausted. He is with his mother for this time, with us going down for this weekend and next.

But it’s hard for me too. I have to do everything and there’s no time and the heat means I can’t take my time – although I much prefer this heat to the cold and, if I could just take things more slowly, I’d be fine!

But, only just over a week to go before he’s back home and we can share the dog walking. And just over 4 weeks an I shall be with Best Mate AND on holiday.

Hang on in there, I tell myself.

Breakneck speed …..

As we hurtle, at breakneck speed towards the “time to go back to work” and the “time it gets to be effing cold”, I thought I’d get you up to date ……

Most years, I wish for snow at Christmas. It never happens, of course. Maybe we have some snow before Christmas but that’s gone by Christmas Eve. But, just once, it would be lovely to have snow and for everywhere to look like it does on the Christmas cards.

However, this year, I didn’t wish for snow because, for the first time ever, I would be travelling on Christmas Eve and the road/motorway I would be travelling on would be through mountains – so I definitely didn’t want snow. I didn’t even want rain, to be honest.

So, secretly wishing I wasn’t travelling but, rather, staying home, I travelled. There was little traffic and I was down there by the afternoon.

F had put the heating on for a full day but opening the door, it was like a sauna. My glasses steamed up immediately. The house has a damp problem. A big damp problem and the heat, instead of drying it out, just created a steamy atmosphere. I opened windows, hoping it wouldn’t be so bad.

To be honest, I was a little bit worried for the dogs. I’m not sure that the humid/damp atmosphere would be good for them but there really wasn’t anything I could do.

That night, we went to his cousins for something to eat. I was bloody starving as I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I had planned to have something for lunch but our cleaner was in so I didn’t and she only left at the time that I was leaving so no chance to grab something quick. I ate like a bloody horse – so much so that this was the butt of jokes over the next few days.

We slept at the house. We switched the heating off and it got very cold and damp during the night.

The next day, Christmas Day, we went round to his parents’ place to say hi. PaC, to me, didn’t look worse than the summer except he was slower and seemed resigned, almost as if he had had enough.

Then we went to the restaurant for our Christmas lunch. Christmas lunch with the extended family (not F’s but the cousin’s). It was OK but once I caught myself thinking that I may have preferred to be in Milan, on my own. Still, it was nice and I was included. F drove back and was going to drop me off at the house and then go his parents but had a headache and asked if we could go to his parents’ first and then I take the car to the house. I was to have a bath, take the dogs out and call him. I didn’t call him because it meant he could stay with PaC and I didn’t want to disturb that. Eventually, around 9, he called me. He had been sleeping and had a bad cold (which he had had before Christmas but now it was worse.) We agreed that, with his cold, it would be stupid for him to come over to the damp house to sleep and so he stayed here and I stayed at the house with the dogs. I left the heating on low all night.

To be honest, without him being there, it made it possibly the worst Christmas I’ve ever had. At least the one Christmas I had been on my own, many years ago, I had the comforts of home. Here I had no computer, no films and not even a TV! It was really dreadful.

The next day, we were to meet at his sister’s to have lunch. When we got there I said, as I decided previously that morning, that I would go home after lunch. I mean, what was the point of staying if I wasn’t even going to have the nights with him? He was happier with that too as it meant he wouldn’t have to worry about me. And, so, I came home and happier to be here. F said that it didn’t feel like Christmas and for me, it was worse, it was a crappy “weekend”.

But it’s done and over now. New Year’s Eve was the usual dinner with (mostly) self-invited guests. We put on a wonderful spread with help from FfI and her friend, H. We finished at 4 a.m. I think it was successful.

And now, tomorrow, is F’s birthday. The special thing which I helped to fund via Kickstarter has not arrived in time, so it will have to be a birthday present to come later. In the meantime, I’ve bought an Italian copy of The Humans by Matt Haig, my favourite book of 2014, a DVD and one of those cards with the year he was born.

Tomorrow, as well, because we didn’t have our usual Boxing Day lunch with P and A, we shall have that, to celebrate his birthday. Then there’s a dinner party for A, my friend, and his girlfriend on Monday, then Tuesday is the “take the tree down” and him getting ready for London and Wednesday is all back to the usual grind.

And, apart from the day before New Year’s Eve, when he was a complete bastard (but I’m trying to be so patient with him given the circumstances) it’s all been either OK or, in the last few days, quite lovely. We now have TV and so we’ve been spending some time watching films and stuff in the lounge, which has been nice.

From Wednesday, he’ll be in London for over a week and I’ll be struggling to get back into the swim of things.

And, so, I hope you all have a great 2015. Wishing you all a very happy New Year.

Nearly there.

Well, here we are. Christmas Eve. Happy Christmas to all my readers.

Last night, being as F is already away, I went out with FfI and H. We sat outside Gattò. They had heaters. After finishing one bottle of red wine we decided to have something to eat but stayed outside so we could smoke. The food plus another bottle of red wine later and my toes were numb from the cold. Still, it was a nice evening.

And now I am almost packed. The last few things need to go in when my cleaner has finished in the bedroom and then we’ll be off to Carrara to join F.

The dogs seem to sense something is up as they aren’t leaving my side.

My usual Christmas Eve, last minute (on purpose) Christmas shopping won’t be happening this year – and I shall miss it. But, then, this isn’t really going to be a Christmas like others. Tomorrow we’re at a restaurant. I have no idea what I shall be eating but it’s unlikely to be some sort of fowl, I guess. Neither will this be the “Christmas with the in-laws” that I had supposed when F, earlier this summer, mentioned that we could have his mum and dad up here for Christmas. Still, such is life.

I hope for a loving Christmas which I think we shall have. I shall be back in two or three days and then we’ll be getting ready for New Year and our dinner party which should be a joyous occasion, I hope. So, love and joy this season, good food and friends and family and, of course, the dogs. The important things in (my) life.


I am at home. It is the long weekend before Christmas.

To be honest, without the dogs and the need to buy things from the supermarket, when I’m on my own, I wouldn’t leave the flat.

That’s one of the reasons I have dogs. At least, then, I know I’ll step outside, getting some fresh air and exercise.

And, if there wasn’t F to consider, all the things I have been doing today, would be postponed until tomorrow. Or next week. Or to some near or distant future.

If it weren’t for F, I wouldn’t speak to anyone. After all, I don’t much care for human interaction. At least, I like it when I’m doing it, sometimes, but to go out of my way to get some, well, that’s just not me.

So, I sit in silence, occasionally talking to the dogs.

Yesterday, after taking the dogs out, I went shopping. Once to get the things I needed and once to buy the big bag of dog food. Then again to take them out (I had to force myself to take them for a long walk) and that was it. The only people I talked to, aside from F in the evening, were a few people who were asking about the dogs and a butcher where I tried to get some lamb chops (I really, really wanted lamb last night, F not being here and all) but, of course, it’s the wrong season for lamb so no lamb to be had anywhere.

It’s now nearly 3 p.m. on the Sunday. So far, the only real speaking episode I’ve had (other than with the dogs which is a little one-sided and F by messaging) is a lady in the dog area this morning with whom we exchanged “Good Morning”s. And then, I DID have a real, and quite long, conversation with FfI. She rang just to catch up and to kind-of make some sort of invitation to do something later. We’ll see. While she was on, she asked about F and how things were going and I was telling her that, maybe, I won’t go to Carrara at Christmas and she immediately jumped in with “Oh well, you’ll have to come to us for Christmas Eve” (they do a kind of party – her, her ex-husband and her daughter – it’s like a family tradition.) Then she added “We can’t have you alone at Christmas.” Humpf. I know all these people mean well but, you know, I don’t know that I really WANT to be with anyone else. All that having to be nice crap. That having to make polite conversation stuff. Of course, if I tell F then he will be delighted. On the other hand, he tells me that he’s been cleaning the house down in Carrara. This could be in preparation for us going there at Christmas – but I’m not going to ask. I’ll wait for him to decide.

On the other hand, so far today, I’ve washed all the Christmas present we are giving to each other (it’s a canteen of cutlery in case I hadn’t mentioned it before now), done some washing, reordered some cupboards in the dining room (to fit the canteen of cutlery in) and stuck the non-slip stuff on the back of the rugs in the hall. Oh, and some other bits and pieces. Now I’m relaxing a moment before having a bit to eat and then I’ll (force) myself to take the dogs out again.

Will I call FfI? I really don’t know. I’m in two minds. In one way, it would be quite nice to see her later, but in another, I’d quite like to have an early meal (as I did last night) and then watch a film with a glass of wine (or two) in hand.

Anyway, first a bite to eat and then we’ll play it by ear.

Christmas Things – update.

So, on a lighter note than recently, the Italian Christmas stamps have been issued and I have ordered 50 of the non-religious ones, which are also the right price for Europe.

The one I have ordered is this:

Italian Christmas Stamp 2014

The religious one is this one:

Italian Religious Christmas Stamp 2014

I have also purchased, today, a Christmas-cum-birthday present for a very dear friend. It’s tickets to La Scala as once, when she was over, she said she had always wanted to go to La Scala. Having been there once, I knew that the best places were in the stalls and so I have bought 3 tickets (F, my friend and me). It’s not until March of next year but that should be fine. I hope.

For Best Mate, I also have to buy some things but I will do that in the next couple of weeks. One thing has to be done at almost the last minute.

And, apart from the present we have bought together, for each other, and the Kickstarter thing that I am hopeful will come before F’s birthday, at least, that will be it this year.

And I’ll let you into a little secret. I told someone about the possibility that F will go down and I will stay here for Christmas and they made an immediate offer for me to join them at their parents’ house. And, you know what? I’d prefer to stay home, just me with the dogs. After all, it’s not like it will be a fantastic Christmas this year and I quite like the idea of not celebrating it but spending the day, just me and the dogs, going for walks and watching some films. Seems bloody ideal to me. But the offer was very kind. I expect there to be a few more to be honest. And F will have this idea that I shouldn’t be on my own, of course. But it’s fine by me. It’ll be a day to myself and, in spite of myself, my head is already selecting the films that I will watch.

In which I become old and, thankfully, not crippled and have a strange dream

Monday. 24/11.

This morning I didn’t shave as normal. What I’ve left, could become some sort of goatee, I guess, if I let it grow. The reason for this was the event on Sunday. I was angry with myself. And, not a little worried.

Have I become one of those “old” people who fall and injure themselves?

I’m taking the dogs out for a rather long walk. We’re about 5 to 10 minutes from home. We come to a crossroads with traffic lights. The lights are green (for us) and so I shorten the dogs leads so that they are right by my side.

We step off the curb and the next thing I know, I am hurtling towards the ground where my chin hits the road and my glasses fly off.

A load of people are racing over to check if I’m OK. First I check the dogs. Bless them, they have stayed exactly where they were when, eventually, on my fall downwards, I let the leads go. Of course, the reason I hit my chin was that I didn’t let the leads go immediately and so had no time to brace my arms/hands against the fall.

Next is my glasses, which someone has picked up.

I check with someone if my chin is bleeding. It seems not but the skin has broken. Already I can feel it’s going to bruise.

I toy with going back home but he is cleaning so I don’t want to do that. I really feel like I need a sit down but there is nowhere to sit. I go on.

Later, I see the chin is red and puffy. F wants me to go to the hospital but I say no. After all, this is just a bruised chin.

But it does hurt.

And I realise that I never said thank you to the people who helped me and I feel really bad about that. But we don’t always think straight at times like this, do we?

During the night, I had a rather strange dream, part of which was to do with the “accident” I had earlier.

I’m driving (quite fast) and I see, a little way in front, cars stopped (as if at traffic lights. I have plenty of time to stop but, for some reason, I am distracted and don’t stop. Instead I go plowing into the back of the last car causing me to fly through the windscreen. I fly over the four or five cars in the queue, each one getting battered by the car behind as the crash acts like an accordion being closed.

I eventually land on the ground, in front of the first car in the queue, unsurprisingly, smashing my chin on the ground.

Other than that, I am quite unhurt. After a few moments of getting my act together, whilst waiting for the police, I go back to the first car I hit which is quite mashed up. The occupants are no longer occupying the car and I find them sitting down in a café nearby. I go to the woman to say how sorry I am but her husband/boyfriend jumps up, really angry.

“She’s pregnant!” he explains. “Didn’t you realise she was pregnant? She could lose the baby!”

And he keeps going on about this and all I could think was how we never know how much our actions will affect others.

And then I woke up. It was about 4 a.m. Strange dream.

Noises are not good.

He presses into my back but he can’t settle.

Two or three times, he turns around, each time, pushing himself into my back. Trying to get closer still.

Eventually, he decides it’s not enough and he steps over me and tries, again to settle.

This time between us. Having something on both sides must be better, I suppose.

I realise that something is wrong. There are two possibilities. One is that he is ill. The other, that he is frightened. I wake myself up, enough so I can tell the difference. There are noises. Bangings, from time to time. It’s the wind. The tail end of the hurricane must have reached us. He is so frightened. He gradually moves up between us until he is almost sitting on the pillows. Then lying on the pillows. Then up again, sitting but anxious. Panting because he’s hot but there’s no way he’s going to move from this place of safety.

I hear a banging from, what I think may be the bathroom. I get up. I close the bedroom door which shuts out (a bit) the noises of things being hurled around the courtyards below. I go to the bathroom and see that the window I left open is banging shut from time to time. The wind is strong and very gusty.

I go to my studio and shut the windows there too. This, effectively, closes the back of the flat.

Back to bed and I have to move him to get back into bed. But he is not, just NOT going to be moved far. After getting into bed he starts inching up again towards the pillows at the next sound.

F is awake too now. Piero cannot settle and, I’m sure, would prefer to be under the covers with us protecting him. F says we should shut all the windows. He says he’s worried about the stuff on the balcony from the kitchen. We keep the rubbish bins out there (he doesn’t like them in the flat – the smell, you know?) As well as a ton of other things. I go and shut the lounge and dining room windows first. I go to open the closed shutter in the kitchen but he is there first. He always complains that it is too heavy to open so prefers it open. I close it in the evening as I go and switch on the coffee in the early morning and don’t want other people to see me before I’m fully dressed. I go to take over from him but, as usual, he won’t let me help. I shrug my shoulders and walk away. It’s one o’clock in the morning. I don’t even have words to say. He opens it and the door and checks the balcony but leaves everything out there and just closes the door.

I go to close the shutters. He says to leave them open. I try to explain that I don’t like them open until I’m dressed. He says that no one will notice which is probably true. But I’m funny like that. But I can’t be bothered to argue. I get the clothes I will now need to get up and put on before I go and switch the coffee machine on. I am pissed off. Royally pissed off but I say nothing.

We both get back into bed, sliding in next to Piero. Piero can still hear bangs and clunks from outside and he just won’t settle. I consider that, if I can’t get to sleep, I’ll get up, have a cigarette and some milk and read some of my book (Gone Girl, btw – I want to read it before I watch the film) but I try to crush those thoughts.

He gets up again and tries to call Piero but Piero ain’t budging. He goes into the kitchen, opens the door and brings everything inside, closes the door and then the shutters. He does, kind of, listen to me but only grudgingly and with bad grace. It doesn’t matter. I know he has done this by the noises from the kitchen not because I saw him do it.

He comes back to bed. Piero doesn’t move but accepts his strokes and affection. After a while, I go to sleep.

The alarm goes off. I feel like I’ve slept for about 5 minutes. It’s going to be a crap day. And it’s still very, very windy. But the sky is clear, which is something and, although it’s colder, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.

Later, by message, he tells me that he’s going to leave a window open. I say no because Piero will still be frightened. Even with them closed, he’ll be frightened but, hopefully, less so. Tonight he’ll be as attached as a limpet, I’m sure.

Unseasonable weather; the sorting of many things; illogical obsessions.

Well, let’s do the weather first. 29°C! That’s what my car said on Friday afternoon! That’s Friday halfway through October. Incredible!

And we’ve been having some lovely weather although the mornings are a little cool and sometimes there’s a dampness in the air.

Anyway, back to Friday. That is, Friday 17th. I went to get the rugs, which had been cleaned. This was going to be the weekend of finishing (well, almost) the flat. I picked up the rugs and, whilst I was paying, some other customer mentioned that it was Friday 17th. Which is like Friday 13th in the UK and nobody had mentioned it at work and, so, I didn’t remember – until that point. I said that, for the English, it’s Friday 13th so today I’m English but on Friday 13th, I live in Italy – either way, they’re OK. It got a laugh, anyway – or, maybe, that was my bad Italian?

Marco Felegname had been round to fix the cupboards and the rest of the lamps.

Saturday morning, we went to get the kitchen table, donated by a friend/colleague of F’s. It’s an IKEA table, white and has a kind of 50s look. Perfect. After we got it back I went for a haircut and tried to find something to send BM for her birthday. I got one stupid thing and then, as I couldn’t find anything really suitable, ordered a book, online, when I got home. The book was The Humans by Matt Haig.

By the time I got home, I felt like crap. The onset of ‘flu. So I said I was sorry but I just had to go to bed for a bit. I felt so tired, all my bones ached and I felt “‘fluey”. I dozed, on and off, for a couple of hours. After that I felt considerably better. Not really well, but better.

In the meantime, the rugs were down and the table set up. Also, a few more pictures had been hung. Things were moving apace. Almost everything had been moved from the kitchen worktops into the cupboards. Not what I wanted but I’m not arguing about it. It makes him happy and it’s not like I use everything every day (or, even every week!)

The next day was more “organising”. I put up another set of drawers for my studio; he moved the towels and sheets from the cupboards in the bedroom to a new one in the hall.

“Can I move my books, yet?” (into the cupboards in the bedroom that were now free) I asked.
“No, I need to clean behind the cupboards first,” he replied.

Later, I start moving my books. “Don’t you want to clean the cupboard first?” he asks. “I thought you did it,” I respond. “No, I cleaned behind them,” he said. “I’m sorry my English is no good,” he continues, irritated that I would put the books away without cleaning. Whenever he says about his English being no good, I know he is pissed. I refrain from saying that, if the cupboards WERE dirty, then so were the sheets and towels that we just moved and that, surely, they all needed washing, then? He’s just manically obsessed by this cleaning everything lark. I say I will clean the cupboards (even if there is absolutely no need) but, because of his stroppiness, he starts cleaning. I walk out of the room – after all, there’s no point in arguing. Not only doesn’t he listen but the whole thing makes no logical sense.

Later, he hangs all my pictures. There are four that he groups together. “I don’t really like these,” he tells me. “That’s OK. Don’t put them up – or put them up in my studio,” I don’t really mind. Eventually, they are put up in the hall. It seems he doesn’t really hate them. Or he puts them up because they’re mine. I don’t know. From time to time he says, “Do you like this (picture here)?” “Yes,” I say. “Or is it better here?” “Either looks good to me,” I reply. Which is true. He’s the one with the eye for detail, not me. In the end, everything is put up.

By the end of the day, we are really almost finished. Even the wire connecting my computer to the television in the lounge is fitted (although not tested yet.) Now there’s only the curtains and the sofa bed to get. Maybe, also, a new filing cabinet. And some new (more) rugs? This was F’s idea because he realises the dogs suffer a bit with the slippery floors.

And then we’re done.

But he’s already very happy, so that’s good. The party will be in December. Apparently.

There was discussion on Saturday evening. “Shall we do an aperitivo or an after-dinner party?” I had always assumed an aperitivo. “But will people come to after-dinner?” I ask. It seems that they will although I am not convinced. Anyway, by the end of the discussion, it seems aperitivo has won the day – although it’s not really fixed. Later, over dinner with friends, he says there’ll be about 40 people coming. even I am surprised. We shall see.